Education initiative reaches over 1 million disadvantaged children in Myanmar

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© UNICEF Myanmar/2019/

YANGON/SITTWE, 05 November 2019 – A high-level government ceremony in Sittwe, Rakhine State, marked the end of the Building on Quality Basic Education Programme (BoQBEP), which has benefitted over one million children nationwide, reaching some for the first time. The programme was led by the Ministry of Education with the support of the European Union (EU), Denmark and UNICEF.

The BoQBEP programme, which began in 2016, supported the Government of Myanmar to improve access to quality learning for disadvantaged children. A major achievement included the launch of the national Education Strategic Plan to guide the national framework for quality and inclusive education for all children in Myanmar. Direct support to children included providing kindergarten play materials such as books, puzzles and clay to all 70,000 kindergarten classes nationwide.

Since July 2017, BoQBEP increasingly focused on children in Rakhine State, supporting inclusive education for all children, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, race, gender or citizenship status in line with the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

“The programme supported our efforts to reach children who are in some of the hardest to reach places,” said Director General of the Department of Basic Education, U Ko Lay Win. “In Rakhine State, the Government provided over 16,000 displaced and conflict-affected children with access to learning opportunities, under BoQBEP support.”

The Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Myanmar, Mr Kristian Schmidt said, " This is because we understand that education is both necessary for Myanmar's development, as well as a fundamental right for all human beings, regardless of their nation, language, ethnic origin, religion or any other status. Education is also crucial to enhance understanding between diverse ethnicities and cultures, to foster tolerance and peace. Myanmar needs an educated and skilled population, which benefits everyone in Myanmar."

"Every child has the right to receive basic quality education. Through inclusive education, we hope to have contributed to creating the future foundation for mutual understanding and peace between the diverse communities in Rakhine State,” said the Danish Ambassador, Mr John Nielsen. “I am pleased that the programme, with the support of the Ministry of Education, has been able to bring children from all communities together, and provided them with the skills and education needed to contribute to developing Rakhine State."

The day-long closing ceremony included an official opening of a newly built classroom block at Ye Chan Pyin Basic Education Middle School, in Sittwe, one of the 38 schools which were renovated or reconstructed under BoQBEP. The delegates also visited to Baw Du Pha camp for Muslim internally displaced people, to observe a non-formal primary education (NFPE) centre and temporary learning classrooms, which also received support from BoQBEP and have been managed by Save the Children International (SCI).
Other key achievements under the BoQBEP programme include:

  • Over 300,000 children in Rakhine benefitted from supplementary reading materials to enhance their reading skills.
  • Over 2,000 teachers in Rakhine trained in child-friendly school methods to ensure children not only have access to education but also receive better quality teaching.
  • Alternative Education Subsector Framework finalized and endorsed by Ministry of Education in November 2018.

“The ceremony highlighted many of the achievements experienced since 2016 and gave us an opportunity to reflect on the challenges still ahead, particularly on how to increase access to quality education for all children, in areas experiencing on-going conflict and in hard to reach areas,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative to Myanmar Paul Edwards.

Note to editors

BoQBEP built on the previous Quality Basic Education Programme (QBEP) which ran from 2012 to 2016, supported by the Multi-Donor Education Fund (MDEF) comprising Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Norway, the United Kingdom and UNICEF. Over 2.5 million children benefitted from QBEP.

Media Contacts

Fre Yilma
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UNICEF Myanmar
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